MANILA, Philippines – About half of regular smokers in the Philippines will “possibly” stop the habit should the proposed increase in tobacco excise tax push through, survey results released Friday, September 14, showed.
With the pending Sin Tax bill likely to affect cigarette prices, 31% of the regular smokers said they will slowly stop smoking, while 17% will stop immediately, according to poll results released by the Laylo Research Strategies.
The survey was conducted from August 7 to 17, with a total of 1500 respondents nationwide. Laylo Research Strategies said the survey consisted of 300 unique sampling points spread across the country’s 77 provinces and 37 highly urbanized cities.
The survey results confirms what advocates have been saying higher tobacco taxes would accomplish: discourage consumption and therefore reduce the number of Filipinos who either develop diseases or die from smoking. The Southeast Asia Initiative on Tobacco Tax says higher “sin taxes” can help save 140,000 to 1.3 million Filipinos.
Quoting the World Health Organization, SAITT says, “Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes results in a 7-percent decline in youth smoking and 4-percent decline in overall smoking.”
The Laylo survey showed that nearly one in every 4 Filipino adults smoke cigarettes at least once a week. Twenty-three percent (23%) of Filipino adults smoke regularly, or at least weekly.
The survey also showed males have a higher percentage of regular smokers (42%) compared to females (4%).
Younger and poorer Filipinos also smoke more often: people aged 35-54 years old (27%) and those in class E (26%) responded they consume cigarettes regularly.
An average of 12 sticks of cigarettes are consumed by Filipinos daily, it added.
The Laylo survey also said that even if the excise tax on tobacco products is imposed, 8% of respondents said they will continue their smoking habit and buy the same brand they are currently consuming.
In addition, 19% said they will continue smoking, but will switch to a cheaper brand.
The sin tax reform bill aims to reduce consumption of sin products – cigarettes and alcohol – by reducing the current 4 tax brackets, which was designed to favor locally made products consumed mostly by the poor.
The bill, which could raise about P30 billion additional revenue for the government, passed the House of Representatives last July. It is the only revenue measure that the Aquino administration is pursuing.
The government said the income will be spent for health programs.
The Senate committee on ways and means has conducted 3 public hearings on the bill. Senator and committee chair Ralph Recto is set to make a report on the Senate’s position on the bill soon. – Rappler.com
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